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Reflexive Verbs: Part I

A verb is reflexive when the subject and the object are the same. I wash myself. subject: I verb: wash object: myself Since the subject and object are the same, the verb is reflexive. I wash the car. subject: I verb: wash object: car Since the subject and object are different, the verb is not reflexive. Here's another example of how a verb can be either reflexive or non-reflexive. I scratch myself. subject: I verb: scratch object: myself Since the subject and object are the same, the verb is reflexive. I scratch the dog. subject: I verb: scratch object: dog Since the subject and object are different, the verb is not reflexive. When a verb is reflexive, the infinitive ends in "se." lavar......................... to wash (non-reflexive) lavarse ..................... to wash oneself (reflexive) rascar ....................... to scratch (non-reflexive) rascarse.................... to scratch oneself (reflexive) There is one reflexive verb you have been using since you began studying Spanish. llamarse - to call oneself ¿Cómo se llama usted? ...................................... What do you call yourself? Me llamo Juan ................................................... I call myself Juan.

NOTE: A more "natural" translation would be "What is your name?" and "My name is Juan."

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When you learned to conjugate regular verbs, you needed to learn a set of pronouns called "subject pronouns." lavar yo lavo tú lavas él, ella, usted lava nosotros/as lavamos vosotros/as laváis ellos, ellas, ustedes lavan To learn to conjugate reflexive verbs, you need to learn a different set of pronouns called "reflexive pronouns." These pronouns are positioned before the verb, while the ending "se" is dropped and the verb is conjugated normally. lavarse yo me lavo ......................................................... I wash (myself) tú te lavas .......................................................... you wash (yourself) (informal) él se lava............................................................ he washes (himself) ella se lava ......................................................... she washes (herself) usted se lava ...................................................... you wash (yourself) (formal) nosotros nos lavamos ........................................ we wash (ourselves) nosotras nos lavamos ........................................ we wash (ourselves) (feminine) vosotros os laváis ............................................... you-all wash (yourselves) (informal) vosotras os laváis ............................................... you-all wash (yourselves) (informal, feminine) ustedes se lavan................................................. you-all wash (yourselves)(formal) ellos se lavan ..................................................... they wash (themselves) ellas se lavan...................................................... they wash (themselves) (feminine) The reflexive pronouns are not subject pronouns; rather they are object pronouns. me ........................... (myself) te ............................. (yourself) se............................. (himself, herself, yourself) nos .......................... (ourselves) os ............................ (yourselves) se............................. (themselves, yourselves) The purpose of the reflexive object pronouns is to show that the action of the verb remains with the subject. Juan se lava la cara............................................. Juan washes his face. (reflexive) Juan lava su carro. (non-reflexive) ....................... Juan washes his car.

NOTE: When referring to body parts, use the definite article, thus "la cara" not "su cara."

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Copyright © 1997­2005 Spanish Learning Resources -- All Rights Reserved. This page may be reproduced for non-profit educational purposes, provided it is reproduced in its entirety.

Note that many, many verbs can be made reflexive. All it means when a verb is reflexive is that the action remains with the subject. wash the dog (non-reflexive) wash your face (reflexive) raise the book (non-reflexive) raise your arm (reflexive) put the baby to bed (non-reflexive) go to bed (reflexive) wake up your son (non-reflexive) wake up yourself (reflexive) ...and so on Now add a flashcard for reflexive verbs: Verb Flashcards 38. lavarse to wash oneself yo me lavo tú te lavas él se lava ella se lava usted se lava nosotros nos lavamos nosotras nos lavamos vosotros os laváis vosotras os laváis ustedes se lavan ellos se lavan ellas se lavan

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